This week, my leadership program has challenged me to consider how I can harness my attention in ways that remove the chaff of daily distraction and reveal hours of time that I can repurpose more effectively. Using the image above, I should reflect on and become more aware of where my time gets sucked up outside of (or in direct result of) my own choices. An urgent crisis, for example, is not something I can control; but, the trolling through Instagram monster is absolutely something that happens as a result of my lack of focus.
As I write this document, I realize how tough it is to maintain focus. Sure, the easy (or not-so-easy?) first step is to remove notifications on all my devices. I have done that, and it is nice to have that freedom. However, that doesn’t get me back tons of time…it just offers a way to avoid what could have distracted me. But there are better, more impactful changes that I can incorporate. Here are some that I have begun to employ for my professional benefit:
- Calendar Work – On Sunday, I take a 45 minutes to an hour to program out my week. I mean every minute of every day from 6am to 5pm. This is my typical work day. Often, I go back to work around 8:30pm (after the kids are in bed), so I add that time, too.
- Weekly Time Blocks – I block off all time, using standard time blocks. I leave gaps only when I would encourage others to schedule times with me. This seems really controlling; however, from the outside looking in, I think it is quite inviting for those looking for the moments of “when are you available.” I think some call this “net zero calendar work” or something like that – it’s pretty good, thus far.
- Creating Appointments with Myself – It’s kind of fun to make appointments with myself. And when I can’t meet with someone because I have an appointment, I don’t need to specify (well, maybe if it’s the boss calling).
There are others I hope to utilize, like figuring out a time budget and engaging in mindfulness practice as a time block in the schedule. Additionally, I was doing really well before the end of school with my Bible studies; I need to refocus on this effort, as I was learning a lot and doing exactly what a good, God-driven person is trying to do – chisel away at the negative influences and shore up the positives. Spend time learning from the Good Book.
Maybe that is exactly what this Attention Zone work is offering me the opportunity to do.
Efficiency is doing the thing right. Effectiveness is doing the right thing.Peter Drucker
What kind of practices do you keep in order to focus your attention on what matters most? Share below in the comments.